VetSurgeon.org, in association with Swann Morton, has launched a new system designed to help veterinary surgeons, students and other members of the profession forge useful contacts in their local area.

First you need to complete your VetSurgeon Profile, in particular the last four sections: "Qualified at", "Interests", "Interested in collaborating on" (aka goals) and "Memberships".

Then visit VetSurgeon Connect and click the button marked "Share My Location". This will activate the map beneath, allowing you to see local colleagues with common interests. It will also pin you on the map, but only in front of logged in members of the site with whom you have a common interest.

One area of common interest is the connection between general practitioners and referral practitioners. Referral practitioners who have shared their location are pinned on the map and can be seen by general practitioners (who can also filter them by discipline).

It is hoped that this will help create a more vibrant referral marketplace, as it offers referral practitioners who do not have big marketing budgets a way to connect with local general practitioners.

The system also matches VetSurgeon members by a number of other criteria. So for example, if you specify 'Qualified at' in your profile, it will display anyone else who went to the same vet school. If you display a leisure interest like cycling in your profile, it'll display other vets in your area who also like cycling.

If you display a clinical interest, such as oncology, it'll show you others in the area with the same interest.

The same thing happens with 'Interested in collaborating on', which connects you with others working towards the same goals, which can be business goals like practice ownership or a learning goals, such as CPD or being a mentor/mentee.

Lastly, if you specify your membership of a special interest veterinary association, the system will show you other members who are in your area.

VetSurgeon Editor Arlo Guthrie said: "It’s kind of a professional matchmaking service designed to make it easier than ever before for veterinary surgeons and others to hook up and collaborate on all sorts of different things.

"It may be you think you know everyone you need to know in your area already. But so often we think we know people, then find out we didn’t know about a shared passion for something, whether it be a professional or a leisure interest. Indeed, I think the system could be just as useful in connecting members to go on a bike ride together as it is to help them collaborate on CPD or on achieving additional qualifications."

Chris Taylor from Swann-Morton said: "We are really pleased to be part of this initiative which should help to bring the veterinary community closer together through shared experiences and knowledge."

Arlo added: "I’m very grateful for Swann Morton’s support. If you are too, you can show it by visiting the company's website and having a quick browse of the latest products in its veterinary range at www.swann-morton.com."